By Adam Molina Review Source
While the Apple AirPod Max is a great pair of headphones with best-in-class active noise cancelling (ANC) and a good sound signature, it also has a few annoying quirks that make it very obviously an Apple product. If you live in the Apple ecosystem and already love your AirPods Pro, then the AirPods Max is more of the same just in a pair of over-ears.
Who should buy the Apple AirPods Max?
People in the Apple ecosystem will love the AirPods Max.
People who love the AirPods Pro but want a pair of over-ears can enjoy many of the same software perks as the AirPods Pro in a more comfortable form factor.
Anyone that wants the best noise cancelling should get the AirPods Max, which outperforms both the Sony WH-1000XM4 and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.
How are the build quality and design of the AirPods Max?
The AirPods Max plays the part of luxury headphones extremely well. The stainless steel headband and aluminum ear cups feel sturdy, and I don’t feel like they’ll break if I toss them in my backpack. All that metal means the AirPods Max is also really heavy, weighing in at 386 grams. That’s much heavier than the other top noise cancelling headphones we’ve tested, and you feel it. That’s not to say these aren’t comfortable, though. The headband is brilliantly engineered to distribute the weight evenly.
The plush padding and light fabric headband feel really nice. The ear cups feel amazing—they’re without a doubt my favorite thing about the headset. They are comfortable and you can easily pop off the padding to replace as needed.
The ear cups are extremely deep, which is actually very important. Providing plenty of room around your ears brings a number of benefits, from effective weight distribution to making noise isolation easier to accomplish. It may seem like a little thing to gush about, but bigger ear cups mean more things go right for more people, which we’ll demonstrate a bit later on.
One notable downside here is the lack of any folding hinges. While the rotating ear cups are nice when you want to slip them into your bag, they don’t fold down like other headphones. The headband is made of metal that slides when adjusting the fit but won’t fold to save space.
How does the Apple AirPods Max sound?
In short, you buy the AirPods Max for the sound quality. For wireless headphones, this is great.
The AirPods Max sounds really good and has a clear, pleasing sound profile that will appeal to most listeners. The frequency response closely matches our own target response curve for the most part, with a little extra kick in the very low-frequency sub-bass region.
You likely won’t use this as a pair of reference studio monitors, but the extra volume in the low end makes these a little friendlier to most genres of music. You can really hear this in the song Sunday Vibes by Masego. At around the 0:40 mark, the sub-bass kicks in and it’s strong enough to feel a slight vibration in the ear cups on moderate volume, but not so strong that it masks the saxophone throughout.
There’s also a slight dip in the mids, but vocals are still plenty clear. The vocals of Longing For Your Love by Ady Suleiman remained present throughout the song even as more and more instruments began coming in. Of course, a lot of this has to do with the mix of the particular track, but I don’t notice any problems when listening.
Typically I expect to hear some harshness at higher volumes, but the highs never become overwhelming or unpleasant. I don’t see many people taking issue with how the AirPods Max sounds for that reason. This isn’t bass-heavy, but the bass sounds good. The midrange comes across nice and clear. The highs aren’t piercingly loud, and you probably won’t want to mess with any EQ apps and settings.